The american unitarian association christian new
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- christian, new, unitarian, the american unitarian association, unitarian universalist, sermon
The american unitarian association christian new: A very old controversy that came to a head with the liberal churches splitting away from new england established church and forming the american unitarian association in 1825.
- 2022-06-09 02:25:25
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- If you all do i mean the spoken affirmation in your order of service. Love is the spirit of this church. And service is it's prayer. This is our great providence. To dwell together in peace. To seek the truth in freedom and to help one another. He will please join me and the responsive reading a new order of service. Let religion be chihuahuas life and joy. Let me listen be to us a dissatisfaction with things that are. Which bid says serve more eagerly the true and right. Let religion v2 was the wonder and lure of that which is only partly known and understood. Let religion beach was security and serenity. Because if it's truth and beauty. And because of the enduring worth and power of the loyalty switch it engenders. Religion uniting us with all that is admirable in human beings everywhere. Education learners and leaders may go to their program. Please be seated. Please join me in the spirit of prayer and meditation. Fries with me. Here a moment. Noticing you're in breast. Noticing your out breath. Noticing the way our breath connects us to one another. And to every other being on this living. Breathing earth. How the earth. Breathes with life. Breathing in. Breathing out. Taking in all that is tired. All that is decaying. All that is cold. Holding it. And breathing forth new life. Warm breezes. Green leaf buds. Breathing for flowers. Unfurling new communities of care and of justice. Renewing old friendships. Breathing force. Forgiveness. Breathing 4th. Second chances. And 3rd. Moving boulders. Taking in old fear. Taking in sadness. Taking in the lonely. Holding these in tender embrace. Breathing out. Contentment. Finding new frontiers. For our creativity. Birthing. Possibility. Notice. The focus of our breath. The simple sound of it. In. And out. Notice that in and out the breadth of one beloved being. In a room. Of beloved beings. In the city. Of beloved beings. In a country. On a continent. In a world of beloved beings. And in a universe we barely know. Yet know is. Of the beloved creative force. Bring your attention. Jiron simple breath. Inspiration. In. And out. With the knowledge. That you are never. Truly alone. Not even in the most difficult hour. Please join in a silent meditation. And blessed be. When i was asked to give a reflection for the service. I couldn't think of a specific personal experience that embody the topic. As we usually do for such reflections. So i decided to ask myself. What does it mean to say we believe in a religion without a creed. I understand it to me we believe in the seven principles of unitarian universalism. And we make an honest effort to live by these principles. As we each interpret them. And that we reject any mandatory doctrine of steps the illogical belief. What does believing in a set of principles mean to me personally. A my family i was raised with a set of principles. One of which was the rejection of religion. Certain others involve honesty. Punctuality. Frugality. Privacy. Rationality. I'm sad to say a sense of superiority. About anyone who is viewed as irrational. Emotional greedy sentimental. Socially needy or. Heaven forbid religious. It was a rather austere way to grow up. But it must be comfortable with the idea of living by certain values. Even those which might involve sacrificing nonconformity. Here are the principles that i kept. And that have guided my life so far. I believe that all people have inherent worth. That no one is born with a greater right to life benefits than another. I believe we should act with justice and compassion. I have strong views about what i believe is right and wrong in the world. But i recognize that decent people may have different opinions. And i defend others rights to express their opinions. I believe that all people have the right to freely explore their beliefs. And to choose without repression. I support democratic structures. Because i believe that all people have a right to have a say in the decisions that affect them. I believe we must defend the resources of our planet. So that we have the material basis for a future. But. There was something missing from my principals. They were still austere. Even after i abandon the physical austerity. I chose as a young adult political activist. There was stinginess. Withholding. Hesitation. Resignation. I came to unitarian-universalism seeking a place where my son could get a non-dogmatic education about religion. Largely to counter the stories of a christian fundamentalist playmate of his. I found that. But i found something else totally unexpected. I found what was missing for me. Even with my principles. I found the sources of my principal. A vessel to hold them in. Watch out. I found a place where a veteran nonbeliever. Could experience all in wonder. Worship. And develop my own unique. But shared faith. Is an atheist i was reluctant to join even this church. Until our minister at the time reverend marco campbell growth. Explain to me that the root meaning of the word religion. What's the buying together. And that belief in god was not a prerequisite. The genuine religious belief. I already felt bound to this community. Put welcome to my family into its rituals music and social life. So joining felt natural. Laser when my family experienced a tragic loss. I found with even greater depth. The true value of being bound together in a community. Do we have a creed. We say we don't. Our principals alone. Are only part of who we are. Without a blessed community. They are but words on paper. Together. We are to paraphrase our mission statement. A sanctuary for religious grove. And intentional community bound together to celebrate life. To bear witness the suffering and joy. And to work for peace and justice. And that is creed enough for me. She would now join india him. 188. Come come wherever you are. Thank you. It's time for the offertory. Notice i did not say the awful tori. This is the offertory where you get to pull out. You're happy money. And give it to the work of this church please keep your sad money. Hold it up keep it in the dark quiet of some personal pocket. But you know somewhere in there there is happy money waiting. For you to just pull it right out and share. For the good of. This community and beyond these walls. Will the ushers please come forward. B h a religion. Which like sunshine. Goes everywhere. It's temple all space. It's shrine the good heart. It's creed all truth. It's ritual. Works of love. It's profession of faith. Divine living. How wonderful to hear our choir in this church. Again. The religions of my grandparents were names to me. Roman catholicism. Orthodox judaism. Vaudeville. My father became a member of the jewish reform movement in his adulthood. And my mother. Followed him if at a distance. In my early childhood i attended the local reform synagogue but soon my jewish religious roots became background to my free will and. Freewheeling. Older childhood in brooklyn. I need my teens i found my way to the ethical culture society. It's youth group. Perfume wild years in the late 1960s. Where we had some of the first t groups. Retreated to essex county new jersey for all night marathon encounters. The poetry shared by moondoggy in the grassy meadow in spontaneous gatherings. And a great deal of speculation. About. What was happening in. Cabin number 4. Presumably a marathon of sex drugs and rock and roll. I believe the world was a place that needed to be changed and i believe that you and i had to stand up and take action. To make those changes. Happened. I don't think. I had faith that we could succeed. But i was sure we had to try. I hope. Sometimes. There was a god. I had since early childhood when i prayed as i had been taught to do. And i at the same time did have a sense of a spiritual nature to things that traveled with me through the years and of which i was keenly aware. In moments. Like millie. And like many of you i suspect. I came to unitarian-universalism for my little boy years ago. Of course our children follow their own paths and my sons. After a few years of religious education and. Having been dedicated at the oakland church. His past was the. Church of the holy baseball. Which he attends to this day. A faithful young man in his own right. And it was of course me. And not my son. With tears in my eyes that first service. I had found my religious home. After so many years. Having felt that organized religion with. Simply part of all the problem. But like many unitarian universalist i did not settle into complete comfort as i listened to the range of beliefs values and church norms. That were unfamiliar at best. And had been alienating in the past. Even the words. Church. Jesus. Evangelism. Even the collection plate all work tough to digest and make my own. After the g word. Once i realized that at least my ministers didn't mean the white-bearded old man looking down from the sky. I was fine with god. As a metaphor. One that i could make meaning of as. Goodness. The essential nature of all existence. And as a newcomer to unitarian-universalism i was unaware of our history. The histories of these great traditions that it only come together in 1961 but that has long deep roots many hundreds of years old. Judeo christian roots not unlike. Those of some of our neighbors here like the baptists across the way. And our transplant in the colonies that became unitarianism. And universalism. Also had radical reformation roots that squarely place our faith. In the christian full. It's not. The trinitarian. Understanding my own philosophy and spirituality their unfolding are only a part of making sense of my theology today. As a committed unitarian universalist. I need to understand what that means more fully by paying attention to the present. I'm making an effort to know about and understand our past. Today i only focus on unitarianism but i recognized. Bigweld. That universalism is also part of our heritage. And that i in fact may have more affinity with that more common strand. Then i do with a brahmin bostonian. What happened in our eeveelution that brought us from a liberal christian denomination to what we are today. What is the matter of creed's versus deeds how did we get here. And how do we make meaning for ourselves individually and collectively as we continue. Unitarianism on the north american continent was born of controversy. A very old controversy that came to a head with the liberal churches splitting away from new england established church and forming the american unitarian association in 1825. The door was cracked open as liberal clergy unitarians preached the prophetic jesus. Not jesus as transcendent form. Freedom of the pulpit and the free expression of different ideas about jesus's divinity or not. Were the issues at hand it wasn't about. Not focusing on jesus at all. Just shifting the nature of that focus. Mini if you know the name william ellery channing the minister who first took the name unitarian. Used by others as a slur. And cleaned it for us. Did you know he didn't want us to split away from these stablished church. Just as jesus didn't want his followers to split away from judaism. Canning salt to change the institution of which he was apart. With his involvement but not with his blessing the aua. What started. But there were other factors that moved unitarianism in the theological debate forward in the nineteenth century the new frontier of the american west. Bear in mind that frontier in this instance has to be viewed. From a distinctly euro-american perspective. It wasn't a new frontier after all to the native americans with lived on the plains and mountain land for hundreds and hundreds of years. The newly-formed american unitarian association was not blind to the movement west. Answer the matter yes of the e word. Evangelizing. How can we support our own we're moving west and how do we get the good word of liberal christianity out to the new settlements in western. New york. Ohio. Kentucky. Pennsylvania. Illinois and beyond. 3 surveys were completed in 1826 37 and 50 to determine where in the west where the best place is to establish new churches. There was a felony back in boston to have some kind of organizational structure to bring together the western churches and frankly there weren't a long long line of harvard-trained ministers rushing away from their culture lives. To the rough-and-tumble harshness west of the hudson river. Southern needed to be a seminary outwest to supply ministers to those outpost churches. 27 years after the aua was founded the western unitarian conference a standing conference was founded and immediately was embroiled in its own version of the continuing theological debate. Whether to have a liberal christian creed. Or to build its churches and convey its message as one rooted not in creed. Button principles. An ethical basis for gun congregational life and faith. The vast expanse of the great horizon. The new towns and fortresses the landscape itself. All of this openness of space all this change. Provided a natural birth place for new thought. A new ways to address old problems. These frontiers of land and ideals captured the imagination of our lineage in ways we cannot fully appreciate. But they did indeed. Provide the physical and psychological space. To make something. New. And here. Is the mess of it. Note the time. The early middle to late 19th century. In no small way the widening of the religious circle of broadening our theological embraced was tied to industrialization. The growing cultural complexity in the west. And principally. Through the unfolding. Of the anti-slavery movement. And the civil war. There were many unitarians who became anti-slavery. Besides theodore parker. Who took a while to get there. There was william lloyd garrison lydia child and julia ward howe in the east and in the west. Age conant mantra conway and many others. And the move in the direction of an ethical basis and not a christian creed was for sign some people tied directly to the anti-slavery movement. William greenleaf eliot. Was one who feared if the radicals. If the radicals against slavery. their way on that issue. Then they would get their way theologically to pulling unitarianism away from the unitarian christianity to which he held. Pugsley. To his dismay. It was the western unitarian conference that did indeed take the then radical stance in 1856. 2 weigh-in against slavery. Can you see how such a struggle and such a courageous stand might move our leaders to the edges of their dreams of what could be. If in their christian identities they could fly apart over slavery. Apps. At a more fundamental level of ethics. Might they stay together. Ifix had become a focus of the west. To cultivate a faith. Of action based on principles safe and practiced not just between the four walls of a church but in the larger world of nature the news of science. An expansion and shift in the manner in which european american society with setting up. It's newest communities. And some of our leaders felt strongly that cristo centrism kept people away. From unitarianism. Didn't want to keep people with different beliefs out of our churches they wanted more space. Psychologically. Linguistically in prayer and practice as a sound rebirth in the space and times in which they found themselves. Maybe this common broad ethical denominator could provide a stronger basis with which to meet these social scientific. Theological and spiritual. Economic. An interpersonal new frontiers. By the late 1860s some churches left the conference. Because it was still like boston decidedly and explicitly christian. Both sides of the debate. Wanted unity. But at what cost. By the 1880s men like william channing jeanette brand system that the ethical basis language would provide a neutral umbrella under which different churches could hold different beliefs within a unified movement. In the twentieth century the door swung wide open. For the greater influx of ideas from eastern religions and humanism. Politics and more to our churches. Is some of our churches still there was a decided split between those who are activists and those seeking spiritual support we still seem to see these intention with one another. I know. But i need both. And there are divided between those who welcome religious and cultural diversity. And those who frankly simply aren't ready. For that. I was frankly disheartened when i recently attended a youth event in another part of the country in which young unitarian-universalist laugh themselves silly. While watching a video showing christian youth at prayer. I felt. Shane. And anger. And did not feel the inclusivity of say we are about. I wondered what we are teaching our youth. What about reverence for our own routes. I'm for real differences as well as for the mystery. However we may define it. The all of all existence. What what does it mean to be inclusive. Don't we ask ourselves this today. In terms of culture race age gender. Sexual orientation and more. In terms of language. Don't we ask. Or shouldn't we ask. How do we choose our music and how do we introduce music that is of other cultures or faith traditions. What pictures of whom and by whom do we feature in our galleries what instruments what total scales what foods what colors are narwhals what words are narwhals. And from what sources. What of our fiber. And how do we understand and talk about that. What are the new frontiers for us. Our movement has been looking at our principles. Looking deeply. What do our principal say. What do they fail to say. Some view our principles as. Too mushy. Well other season is brilliant. Making the big tent. Many of us value. Possible. I think back to the idea of frontier to find our new edges and to redefine old unresolved conflicts. How is it that are inclusivity on paper. Does or does not have the desired result of inclusivity in our pews or our pulpits. And inclusivity in what sense. Look different think just like me. Look like me or different from me and think and speak differently so that we can learn from one another. What about the deeds not creed what do we do that defines us. How are we understood within and beyond these walls. How do we deepen who we are. On this day. We are about doing. We are going to do something. We are going to write on a great ribbon that will circle this church taking a visible stand against. An unjust war. Some will sign during the postlude. Prearranged. And some will stay after the postlude and sign the words that you feel moved to sign. To share with a community around us. We're putting ourselves out there on the frontier of our ideals by showing up and writing something. Taking a stand rooted in our values of. Justice making. This speaks in part to my struggle since my childhood. To take right action in order to speak truth to power. In order to bend toward justice. And to do so in beloved community. Therein. Comes with spiritual. For me. In beloved community. And i long for more. More justice more mercy. More walking along with you in great humility. With all and wonder. And a deep sense of the kingdom of god within us all. A deep sense of the sacred and spiritual in all of its manifestations. Today. And all days. Maybe continue to move. And be moved. To the frontier. About ideals. To feed others. And ourselves. And one another. Maybe so. Please. Rise as you're willing and able we are going to sing hymn 116 and then please stay through the postlude. Several of us will sign the. Peace ribbon. And after the postlude you are invited to join in the signing as well. Again please rise as you're willing and able and sing him 116 i'm on my way. And the receiving line today will be right here. She may say hello if you wish to me. And to the others who led the service and sign. Now the post run.